The Luther School Board, Monday night approved an “Estimate of Needs” for the 2017-18 school year. It’s what the district uses to base its budget on, and the new numbers give the district some more money to spend this year. It was quite a difference from the September board meeting a year ago.
The new numbers, approved by all board members who were there, gives the district $5,745,755.40 to use in its General Budget, up about $215,000 from last year.
The building fund number went up too, but the Child Nutrition number went down significantly from the current number of $304,478 from $425,003 last year. Superintendent Barry Gunn indicated the loss of funding is from the federal government and might reflect the decreased enrollment for the school last year as well as other factors.
Speaking of enrollment. Each principal gave a report for their school and shared the number of students:
Mrs. Sheila Wilson, elementary principal, said there are 332 students in the elementary, up from 314 students last year.
Mr. Shawn Meek, middle school principal, said he has 262 students.
Mr. Jerry Martin, high school principal, said his school is up ten students to 233. He also said that 23 juniors and seniors are taking concurrent classes.
That’s an unofficial tally of 827 students. That number is up from last year’s enrollment tally but this year’s official number isn’t counted until October.
The board also approved funding teacher retirement benefits for all certified teachers as a fringe benefit beginning this month. The benefit had been cut for new teachers to save money the last couple of years. Gunn told the board he thought it was a fairness issue since newer teachers didn’t get the same benefit as those who’ve been with the district longer.
“I’d like us to be able to do it for our teachers,” said Gunn.
Board President Steve Broudy said the effort was a great idea to help stop the “revolving door” of losing good teachers in the district. Gunn said it will be an effective recruitment tool.
When asked if the district can afford to take on the expense, Gunn said the entire expense costs about as much as one teacher’s salary that when figured with all benefits is roughly $50,000.
Other news from the September School Board meeting:
October 5: Elementary Teacher Carnival. Three members of the high school Student Council asked board members to commit to a Pie in the Face fund-raiser at the carnival, to raise money for furniture outside of the library. All four board members said yes. CJ Cavin was absent.
Xerox: The school’s contract with their copier company, Xerox, is running out and bids will be sought to provide copiers and copies for all of the buildings.
Lawsuit: Mr. Gunn said the school district is asking the court to dismiss the lawsuit filed against the district and the town over a fence at the ballfield.
September: this month marks a year that the State Auditor and Inspector’s office has been conducting a citizen requested audit of the school district. An SAI spokesperson said the audit “might” be complete the end of September. Last year, the school board approved paying up to $45,000 for the audit.